David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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Progress?

 

Not only do we live in a rural enclave, but we’ve now been labeled elite and entrenched.

In case you missed it, new rules for building in the mountains are now being considered by the county. Specifically, in the past it was possible to build on less than 35 acres if your land was an old mining claim. There are about 4,000 such sites in the county, (about 3,000 are buildable sites) and if all of them become housing sites the population in mountain Boulder County could rise from the present 10,500 to more than 27,000. The new rules would eliminate the exemption, and that would make these small land holdings essentially worthless while the value of existing properties would skyrocket, along with property taxes. My own valuation rose 25% this year and I’ll bet yours did, too. Additional rules would tell us where to put property access, require windows that prevent glare from the sun, limit the colors a house could be painted and restrict how much earth could be moved.

One of our commissioners, Homer Page, says that the regulations reflect concerns about the population potential in terms of increased road traffic, a falling water table and fire hazards.

Faithful readers are aware that I have often considered the pros and cons of progress and increasing numbers of people on our valley and its future. And there’s no doubt I’m among the entrenched, although I have to question the elite label.

As usual, I don’t have any answers, just questions. The new regulations will hurt a number of people in a number of ways, but, as Homer put it, “What’s the alternative?” Building permits, which have been 40 to 80 in the past 10 years, have risen to 105 in 1992 and you only have to look around to see the new roofs in our valley. The problem is at least county-wide. As I drive from Lafayette to Longmont, the rural drive I took 10 years ago is now a drive through subdivisions and a golf course where the building lots sell for $72,500, to $345,000 “depending on location and view” and they’re selling as rapidly as they can be prepared. Their water will come from us.

Is it time to circle the wagons? How many houses can be built before our fire department can no longer guarantee their safety? As it is, at the fringes the best they can do is prevent a fire’s spread to the forest. And as our forest continues to age, the probabilities for a major fire continue to rise. More people, more houses, more propane, more electricity all mean more danger to the community as a whole. Is it unreasonable to put some limits on growth?

These are truly vexing questions our little community will have to face in the coming years, and we used to think those problems were a long way off. The trouble with the future is that it has a way of becoming today.

Homer asks a good question: what is the alternative?

 

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

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